Facial recognition could be used to replace swipe cards on public transport, the New South Wales government has suggested, but the opposition and digital rights groups say it would pose a risk to privacy. The transport minister, Andrew Constance, said on Tuesday he wanted commuters "in the not too distant future" to be able to board trains using only their faces, with no need for Opal cards, barriers or turnstiles. "I'm about to outline some concepts which may seem pretty crazy and far-fetched," he told the Sydney Institute on Tuesday. "But look at it this way – who would have thought in 1970 that you'd be able to use a handheld device to have a video conversation with someone on the other side of the world? "I want people to not think about their travel.
There used to be a time when an Australian could fly to New York and be imbued with the power to predict the fashion and hair cuts that would appear on Sydney or Melbourne streets in the upcoming year. On Thursday, Australia's state and territory leaders agreed to link their systems, and thereby create a national federated database of biometric passport and driver's licence photo data. Far from protecting the electorate's civil liberties -- which, unlike many other modern nations, are not written down and only exist in feelings, vibes, and the whims of the High Court -- the state premiers piled on and were only too proud of the technological terror to be constructed. "In my judgement, it would be unforgivable to not make changes like that when the technology is available, the competence, the know-how, and safeguards are available to effect that change," Victorian Premier Dan Andrews said. Australia in 2017 is a place where the political discourse allows Parliament to abrogate and outsource responsibilities on equality, yet the final step to create a technology-driven system of constant visual surveillance is waved through as routine.
American IT services provider Unisys has picked up a pair of Australian government contracts. The first is to design and implement the Enterprise Biometric Identification Services (EBIS) system that will be used by the Department of Home Affairs to conduct biometric matching on people entering Australia. "The new EBIS system will be used by the department to match face images and fingerprints of people wishing to travel to Australia, including visa and citizenship applicants, against biometric watch lists to identify people of security, law enforcement, or immigration interest, while simultaneously facilitating the processing of legitimate travellers," Unisys said in a statement. The company said the system will be designed for the next decade. For its part, Assistant Minister for Home Affairs Alex Hawke said the system would "vastly improve" Australia's biometric storage and processing capabilities, and consolidate the biometrics collected through visa and detention programs with data collected at SmartGates.
Move over Face ID, the Australian government has eclipsed you on the creepy factor. It'll allow for photos from government I.D.s and licenses to be added to a national facial recognition database, making it easier for the country's law enforcement agencies to identify people in real time. SEE ALSO: Moscow's facial recognition CCTV network is the biggest example of surveillance society yet The announcement was made on Thursday by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, following an agreement between all the country's states and territories. It will be up and running next year, and the government says the database will help bolster national security. "To be quite clear about this, this is not accessing information, photo I.D. information that is not currently available.